The Chalice and the Pepsi Can

I walk into a classroom with a Pepsi can and a Chalice. I pretend to be ready to pour Pepsi into the Chalice.  I stop short of doing it and ask the students if this would be good or bad? They answer it would be bad and disrespectful, because the Chalice is sacred and the Pepsi is only ordinary. I teach them the saying, “Treat ordinary things in an ordinary way.  Treat sacred things in a sacred way.” Then I ask them, “Which is more sacred, the chalice or you?” Seventh grade and under usually answer that the Chalice is more sacred, because it is blessed. I ask if they are blessed. They answer that they were blessed at Baptism. I tell them that the Chalice with its blessing cannot attain Heaven. “Can you?”

They answer that with their blessing of Baptism, their destiny is Heaven. Then I ask them again which blessing they would rather have. They say Baptism. “Which is more sacred, you or the Chalice?” They will answer back, “But the Chalice holds the Blood of Christ.” I answer, “And what do you hold when you receive Holy Communion?—You hold the Body and Blood of Christ… Which is more holy?” They answer now that they are holier than the Chalice.

For Discernment: The main point is that if we are going to discern our vocation in Christ, we must have the starting point that we are sacred. We are called as sons and daughters of a loving Father. Only when I see myself as sacred can I truly begin to discern my Call and Mission.

Scripture: I Cor. 6.19-20: “You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within—the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased, and at a price! So glorify God in your body.” Col 3.10: “Put on a new man, one who grows in the knowledge as he is formed anew in the image of his Creator.”

Appendix 2: The Chalice and the Pepsi Can

I walk into a classroom with a Pepsi can and a Chalice. I pretend to be ready to pour Pepsi into the Chalice. I stop short of doing it and ask the students if this would be good or bad? They answer it would be bad and disrespectful, because the Chalice is sacred and the Pepsi is only ordinary. I teach them the saying, “Treat ordinary things in an ordinary way. Treat sacred things in a sacred way.” Then I ask them, “Which is more sacred, the chalice or you?” Seventh grade and under usually answer that the Chalice is more sacred, because it is blessed. I ask if they are blessed. They answer that they were blessed at Baptism. I tell them that the Chalice with its blessing cannot attain Heaven. “Can you?” They answer that with their blessing of Baptism, their destiny is Heaven. Then I ask them again which blessing they would rather have. They say Baptism. “Which is more sacred, you or the Chalice?” They will answer back, “But the Chalice holds the Blood of Christ.” I answer, “And what do you hold when you receive Holy Communion?—You hold the Body and Blood of Christ… Which is more holy?” They answer now that they are holier than the Chalice. The main point is that if we are going to discern our vocation in Christ, we must have the starting point that we are sacred. We are called as sons and daughters of a loving Father. Only when I see myself as sacred can I truly begin to discern my Call and Mission.

Discuss with the students:

1. What are ways in which we treat others like Chalices? Like Pepsi cans? Have them use examples with how they treat classmates, parents, siblings, etc.

2. So many young people struggle with pornography. How does one who views pornography view the person in the picture? How does he view himself? Once     while preparing to do this example in front of a group of teachers, I had the Pepsi Can and Chalice on a table on stage. Someone reported to the director of the program that some idiot left a Pepsi can next to the Chalice, and they were very offended at the sign of disrespect. The director told me, and I left it there and decided to bring the criticism into the talk. After I talked a while about the two things, I brought up that someone was not happy that the Pepsi can and Chalice were on the same table. I answered that I understand where they are coming from, and that I appreciated their critique, but that if it is inappropriate for these two inanimate objects to be in close proximity, then what about the person who is a temple of the Holy Spirit and places himself/herself in the presence of pornography? A point to bring up about young people and pornography is that no one who is hooked on pornography can discern a vocation. Our imagination is too full and too distracted to be able to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

3. We apply this analogy to dating: There are two young men. They both want to date your daughter. The first one sees your daughter as a Pepsi can. The second sees her as a Chalice. Which one do you want your daughter to date? Everyone says the one who sees her as a Chalice. Why? Discuss with the students why this is so? After one of these sessions, a very attractive 16 year old sophomore girl came up to me and pulled me aside. She said, “Father, in the class today something really struck me. I have been sexually active since 8th grade. I always blamed the boys for using me, and this they certainly did. But what I came to realize today is that it is not just they who see me as a Pepsi can. I see myself as a Pepsi can and that is why I allowed them to treat me like this. If I can learn how to see myself as sacred, I wouldn’t make these kinds of decisions.” Ask the students to comment on this and to have them think about how they see themselves at this time in their life. If I see myself as sacred, how would this affect the choices I make about dating? Sex? Drinking? Drugs? And everything else? If I don’t see myself as sacred, how can I connect with the sacredness and holiness of God, and how can I discern my vocation?

4. I Cor. 6:19-20: “You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within—the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased, and at a price! So glorify God in your body.”